It seems just like yesterday when my aunt texted and said grandma’s in the hospital and it’s pretty serious so I should fly back. It seems just a moment ago, rushing to sort out my tickets, Johnny’s wellbeing, going on the plane back to KK. Then switching on my phone the moment I landed to be greeted with messages from my cousins that grandma has passed away, and my aunt not daring to tell me so, knowing how devastated I would be. Crying while waiting for my luggage on the conveyor belt, crying in the car, crying when I reached her house. Crying during the nights of her wake, crying picking up my mum from the airport, crying at church and during her funeral.
The 1st anniversary will be on June 20th. Thinking back, it makes me realize how a part of me died when a new chapter of my life just began.
I have yet to finish the 50-odd pages of my grandma’s life written by my mum – in fact I couldn’t go beyond the second page. If I were ever to be in denial about anything, accepting my grandma’s death would be it.
I read somewhere about a person who attributed her success to her mother’s karma. I was just telling someone today how I believe in that, too. I am who I am, and where I am today, because of my mum’s and my grandma’s karma. It’s like their overflow of good karma reaches me and has made this path for me. They are two of the most intelligent, resourceful, amazing and kindest women I know.
Growing up, I had seen how my grandma used to welcome any stray animals, how she handled rejected newborn animals. During one of the wake nights, my aunt told me this story. During one of our family Christmas parties (we had Christmas gatherings at my grandma’s house and practically the whole village would show up), an unfamiliar guest was there, so my aunt went up to her and asked her how she knows the family. She told my aunt that many, many years ago when she was small, she used to stay near my grandma’s house. She came from a poor family and often had nothing to eat, so she had to go to her neighbours to ask for whatever’s left over. My grandma never turned her away and always gave her something to eat. A stranger, someone else’s daughter. And my grandma fed her.
A lady who survived World War II, a lady who sacrificed a lot so her children could get a good education, a lady who came from a small village but ended up travelling to more countries than I’ve ever been to, a lady who has taught me a lot when I was younger, a lady whose heart was so big for animals and humans alike.
I miss you, mama.